Tutorials

How to Create a Warm Sunset Effect in Lightroom 5


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Introduction

This is a Lightroom 5 tutorial, where I show you how to take an image with neutral blue tones and give it a warm sunset effect. The image that I will be working with today was taken during the afternoon while the sun was still fairly high and bright in the sky. This effect would work better on images that were taken later on in the afternoon where more warmer tones were available, but I wanted to give you an idea of the range of possibilities available in Lightroom while only using the sliders, especially when trying to get the most out of an otherwise unimpressive image.
 
I did not use any graduated filters or brush enhancements in this tutorial. All I did was play around with the sliders to achieve this look. This is a great tutorial for beginners who are still getting used to Lightroom and post-camera editing.
 

Here are the before and after shots:

I started off with the before image shown above, which was shot in RAW with a Canon EOS 60D and a focal length of 32mm, 100 ISO, f10 and an exposure time of 1/1000. I also added an exposure of +1.00 in Lightroom and did a bit of cropping.
The settings that I have used in this tutorial are just rough guidelines that worked well with this particular image. You will most likely need to tweak them when applying it to your own images, depending on what you’re working with.

 

Step 1: Basic Adjustments

 

 05cd7-screenshot2014-02-24at12-51-29am

 

To start off, I wanted to add a little bit of warmth to the image by increasing the temperature. I also increased the tint just a bit towards the magenta side to prevent the image from looking too green. This also adds more of the rich warmth effect that we are after.
 
9bc62-img_3945-1-4
 

Next, I increased the contrast to about +50 to add some depth to the image. I also increased the shadows and blacks while decreasing the highlights and whites to add even more depth.

 

66c43-screenshot2014-02-24at12-51-36am

 

77989-screenshot2014-02-24at12-51-42am
Finally, I decreased the clarity to give some softness to the overall image.
cdf53-screenshot2014-02-24at12-51-46am

And we end up with the following image below:

27888-img_3945-1-3

Step 2: Tone Curve

We can give a nice boost to the image by adding additional contrast through the use of an ‘S’ curve, which will deepen the shadows while brightening up the highlights.

4e13a-screenshot2014-02-24at12-51-52am

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Step 3: Sharpening & Noise Reduction

Since I did crop the image, I decided to add some sharpening to give it a crisper look.

0eb1c-screenshot2014-02-24at12-52-01am

Cropping an image, as well as sharpening and adding depth through shadows and highlights, is bound to give the image some noise, so it’s a good idea to incorporate some noise reduction to smooth things out.

89dff-screenshot2014-02-24at12-52-06am

Step 4: Vignetting

If you find that the brightness is not very even around the borders of the image, adding a lens vignette can definitely help even everything out. I did not incorporate a lens vignette in this image (simply because I didn’t feel like it), but I did incorporate a vignette effect.
I personally enjoy adding vignette effects to images because I just love the overall look of it. This is purely a personal choice that really depends on your own taste.
Here are the vignette levels that I added:
0fd91-screenshot2014-02-24at12-52-18am

And this gives me the final look:

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And there you have it! I hope you found this helpful. I would love to hear your thoughts on this tutorial, so please feel free to leave comments/questions below! 🙂

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